Vesta Institute of Biochemistry
The Vesta Institute of Biochemistry, located at Novyi Petrovichi, 4 Vesta, the Main Belt, is a post-secondary educational institute founded in 2009 to teach both the theory and practice of genetic engineering (both mundane and handwavium-assisted) and related fields. Many students transferred to VIB when it opened because of the legal restraints on handwavium and stem cell research on Earth, which lead to five students (including well-known Senshi geneticist Leda Swansen) graduating in 2010.
VIB offers full undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs in Biochemistry, Genetics, Genetic Engineering, Molecular Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Medicine.
All students are required to successfully complete the Institute's "Concise Scientific Writing" and "Ethics of Biological Manipulation" courses before being allowed to graduate.
There are currently three major areas of research at the Vesta Institute of Biochemistry.
Biomodification control and reversal is the glamorous project, and the project with the highest level of failures. The school works with Star Labs to investigate the possibility of reversing biomods; as yet, this research has proven fruitless. The April 2013 research paper published by Leda Swansen, detailing the mechanisms of the "shapeshift" ability of a biomod identified as N, remains the most detailed work produced by this project.
Information in the Whole Fenspace Catalog has opened up new avenues of investigation in treatment of crippling diseases by use of stem cell therapy, and the VIB is at the forefront of cataloging, analyzing, and integrating this section of the Catalog with local research. This research has already borne fruit; they released a reliable cure for Alzheimer's Disease in December 2013.
The most visible of VIB's research fields is also the least immediately useful. Paeleobiology is almost a hobby, but the opening of the Jurassic Rock theme park brought the project to the public eye.
Jurassic Rock used to be the Institute's hazardous-experiment-containment asteroid until a graduate project in paeleobiology succeeded in cloning pseudo-dinosaurs there in 2011. It is now a popular theme park, and one of the Institute's major sources of revenue.
The Vesta Free Hospital, opened in Novyi Petrovichi in June 2012, is the Institute's teaching hospital. Basic treatment is free, funded by donations from the Nikaido Foundation and others.
VIB is a sister school to the Vesta Institute of Robotics.